My name is Doreen (Reisert) Pohorylo and I am a Cystic Fibrosis fighter. Diagnosed at birth, my twin sister Janine and I led pretty much normal lives up until High School. With the love and support of family and friends and LOTS of antibiotics, we overcame several bouts of pneumonia through college and our adult lives.
But enough about our illness, Janine and I were best friends and did everything together. We were avid Yankee fans and attended tons of games together. We watched the NY Giants play many a games, the most memorable being their 2008 Superbowl win against the New England Patriots in a bar together...loving life!!! We traveled to all sorts of sunny destinations together - making memories that will last a lifetime. Lastly, we finally moved into an apartment together and spent a year learning to be adults. ;)
In 2011, after dating my then fiance for a year and a half, I moved up to Connecticut to be with Brian and plan our wedding together. Janine moved into her new apartment in NY and our lives changed. We rarely saw each other, but spoke everyday. When we did see each other, it was short, but we made every second count. We were best friends and it was so hard not to be together 24/7. At this time, Janine fell ill and was hospitalized numerous times for an infection that took over her body and left her lungs in bad shape. She fought back each and every time she fell ill. She'd always tell me to never let the disease get the best of you. I will never forget that. In 2014, Janine's prognosis changed for the worse. She was in ICU, intubated and on a ventilator and her organs failing. On July 5th, 2014 she lost her battle with CF and passed away. Heaven gained an angel that day. Devastation hit our entire family. I lost my other half and part of my heart.
Fast forward to 2016 and my health started to decline. Increased IV antibiotics and hospitalizations. My lung function declining with every doctor visit. Lung Transplant was mentioned a few times during that year and I knew things were getting bad. In December 2016, I agreed to start the process of vetting myself for a double lung transplant. I was recommended to a hospital in Boston. Plus, I turned 40. Double-whammy if you ask me! ;) Why did I choose this path? I wanted to fight CF and make Janine, my family and friends proud that I was not going to let this disease get the best of me.
My #journeyoflife began in Feb 2017. Months full of rehab, doctor appointments, invasive and non-inavasive procedures and tests. Traveling between CT and MA several times. The result? On July 18th, I was approved and listed for a double lung transplant in the New England area. Months of stress, emotional roller-coasters and even an IV stint all came to end on that day. This is it. I now wait for the call for new lungs.
I don't normally ask for help, let alone financial help, but this has become a very expensive process. Gas, hotel stays, medication and hospital bills are starting to add up and I haven't even had the surgery yet. The surgery and recovery period in the hospital could vary from a few weeks to a few months. My husband, family and supports will be there 24/7 in Boston rotating so there is always someone there for me. That means more hotel stays, food, gas and let's not forget all the different kinds of rejection meds I will be on after the surgery and for the rest of my life. I'll need constant supervision when home. Rehabilitation. Months of visits back to Boston to monitor my progress or if there is an emergency. I see dollar signs racking up and it only adds to the emotions I am feeling already about my new journey.
Unfortunately I cannot predict when I will get the call, but when I do, I will be on short and long term disability and not working. Leaving Brian to balance work and taking care of me. It won't be easy for either one of us. We won't even know how long my recovery will take. I'm taking many risks so I can be able to throw off my oxygen and take a deep breath in. I want to see my stepchildren, neice and nephews walk down the aisle at their college graduations or get married and have children. I want to grow old with Brian. I want us to enjoy the rest of our lives - no matter where our lives take us. He is my rock. My love. My one and only.
To sum it up, I need help. Not just love and prayers, but any kind of financial donation is very much appreciated. Big or small, it will never go unoticed.
Thank you for reading. Thank you most of all for your love and support. XOXO
- Catherine Blair
- Michael Shaughnessy
- milton garces
Organizer and beneficiary